BY CLAUDE IZNER
Courentin Jourdan rescues the young Sophie Clairsange from the tides along the Normandy Coast. He revives her and sends her to the nuns to recover. Meanwhile, he discovers a notebook among her belongings, which he reads from cover to cover and then gives back to her. In Paris, Louise Fontaine, another young woman in finery and a velvet mask, lies brutally strangled. The drunk watchman discovers a pendant near her decorated with a black unicorn. T
Bookseller Victor Legris works with brother-in-law Jojo to figure out how Louise’s murder might connect with that of two wealthy men belonging to one of the most famous occult societies in Paris, the Black Unicorn, whose aim is the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone. Legris persists as the secrets of the notebook are revealed.
This novel winds through boulevards and alleyways in the Paris of the Belle-Époque as we experience the sweat of butchers at work, the desperation of prostitutes working for a few cents, and the fascination of Parisians with the occult world. The characters are finely drawn, and the place names are plentiful. This book appeals to lovers of Paris, which springs to life at the end of the 19th century.
(First Published in Historical Novels Review online in my pen name, Liz Allenby)